The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies national conference is meeting this week, April 3-6, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The theme of the conference is “Indigenous Knowledge for Resistance, Love, and Land: Lecciones for our Children, for our Future.” Will NACCS be changing their name and eliminating Chicana and Chicano from it? #VivaAztlanLibre
So apparently it is true. The national MEChA/Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan organization changed their name to MEPA/Movimiento Estudiantil of Progressives for Advocacy, or something like that, SEPA la xingada, under the misguided notion that Aztlan is a nationalist colonial concept that undermines Native American nations’ land and sovereignty, and XicanismX is not inclusive enough. From what I hear, many independent MEChA groups didn’t take too kindly to this. In effect, they have created a new organization that isn’t MEChA anymore, thus paving the way for the real MEChistas to take over the national organization. Should be interesting to see what NACCS national has to say about this. Anyway, here is a comment I wrote on a Devon Peña post before they made their final decision to change the name:
As a Chicano Movement vato from Yanawana/San Antonio, Tejas and the University of Texas in Austin during the early 70s, while initially there was a belief that the concept of the Chicano Nation of Aztlan was the Southwest U.S., because of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and that was where most Chicanas/os were located at the time, I think many of us relatively quickly evolved in our thinking that Aztlan as the Southwest territory was in conflict with our native nations brothers and sisters in this territory, and that we, as Chicanos, weren’t going to be another neo-colonial settler invader of native peoples and their land. Xicanxs have always been in solidarity with our native nations carnalxs and have worked with them in their struggle for their land and sovereignty.
As mentioned above in other comments, Aztlan became more of a spiritual concept of unity amongst the Chicano/a people, loosely defined as the Mexicano people within the U.S., and a reclaiming of our indigenous roots. We are still trying to find the “real” Aztlan, after all. Part of the problem is that Aztlan was never adequately and collectively defined and it means different things to different people.
However, if in fact MEChA does change its name to not include Chicanx and Aztlan anymore, I think it’s a dishonoring of the original founders of MEChA and to all of the people who have belonged to this organization over the last 50 years, or so, and to the very important work that this organization and people have done within our colleges/universities and communities. If some people in MEChA do not believe in the concepts of XicanismX and Aztlan, and feel that MEChA and the name doesn’t accurately represent them, they should start a new organization with a new name, and leave MEChA to those who still believe.
As alurista said in El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan 50 years ago this month: “Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos. We are Aztlan.”
Que viva Aztlan Libre and all of the free and sovereign indigenous pueblos and nations on this continent. In lak’ ech. All our relations/Nawaso’l ment yawet. Tamo’k.
Copyright 2019 by Juan Tejeda. To contact Juan: juantejeda.net